Going Global the American Committee and the First Inventory of Extinction

in Nature's Ghosts

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780226038148
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226038155 | DOI:
Going Global the American Committee and the First Inventory of Extinction

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As he approached graduation at Harvard University, Harold J. Coolidge, Jr., experienced a burning desire to make a name for himself. His first opportunity came when he signed on as an assistant zoologist for the Harvard African Expedition of 1926 and 1927. One objective of this year-long medical and biological survey of Liberia and the Belgium Congo was to secure a specimen of the mountain gorilla, a rare primate that had first been described twenty-five years previously. When he returned to the United States, Coolidge and John C. Phillips founded the American Committee for International Wild Life Protection. While the protection of Africa's wildlife continued to be a priority of the American Committee, during the mid-1930s, the organization increasingly set its sights on the conservation of Central and South American wildlife. The American Committee published the first inventory on lost and vanishing mammals of the world. One of its reports blamed “civilized man” for the extinction of numerous species and pointed out that the rate of extinction in North America was much higher than on other continents.

Keywords: extinction; Harold J. Coolidge; John C. Phillips; conservation; wildlife; North America; mammals; Africa; mountain gorilla

Chapter.  13914 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental History

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